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Matt Bowen & NOT Being Kurt Cobain!

Updated on July 22, 2015

Lots of Talent Coming From Matt Bowen!



He's a regular one man band, but not always a Kurt Cobain.
He's a regular one man band, but not always a Kurt Cobain. | Source



Matt Bowen wants to make one thing VERY clear: “I am not Kurt Cobain!" Yes, he was unique and had his own soul, "and I never forget that,” he said adamantly. “The Nirvana album ‘In Utero’ was the first album I ever heard with Cobain, so that kind of set me on my musical journey. My best friend in the whole world was the one who showed it to me too and since his passing, Nirvana took on a whole new meaning for me,” says Matt reverently!

In regard to Kurt in particular, Matt Bowen never once thought that they’d had anything in common until his friend pointed out the resemblance in 8th grade. Then the books kept coming out (Heavier than Heaven, Journals, Come As you Are) and people would give them to Matt as gifts and when Bowen read them, he saw extremely eerie similarities and coincidences between him and Cobain.

Starting with “in your face” facts. “His father’s name is my father’s name, we share the same middle name, we had the same issues as teenagers, etc,” remarked Matt. “I’ve had dreams that felt real as a conversation with a peer, I remember in one I spit in his face and walked away. I know some people believe in spirits and some don’t but I honestly have seen him more than once and he was trying to communicate something to me so I have no idea what that means.”

Bowen always said that he would never rule out some kind of spiritual connection going on. “When I saw that “Montage of Heck” thing on HBO, that sent chills down my spine because some of that footage was almost identical to my own home movies,” he marvels.

Matt said that Kurt did certain things that reminded him of himself, like looking in a mirror. Adds Matt, “Having said all that, again Kurt Cobain was his own unique being but I will never rule out the possibility that there may be a larger connection to him that I don’t understand. It’s too bad that his dark side got the better of him because from everything I’ve seen and read, he was a beacon of laughter, practical jokes, happiness, and kind of still is misunderstood in my opinion.” And Cobain was and more.


For musician/songwriter Matt Bowen, that is an extremely huge question, “but if I had to describe who I am, I’m someone who has always tried to help others in pain or suffering because I recognize the feeling all too well,” explains Bowen, who also moonlights as ‘being lead singer Kurt Cobain of Nirvana’, but that is not his mainstay. As Bowen says, “If you listen to my song lyrics, they are very personal and reflect how even though I’ve been taken to horrible, dark places I’ve always tried to find a light against all odds.” There is a connection between the two musicians, both talented and a great resemblance, but that’s not Matt Bowen’s whole world, as some may think.

It seems to be true that pain and obstacles make a good songwriter, and both Matt Bowen and Cobain have had all of that. Bowen says, “I believe that because of the pain and obstacles I’ve had to feel, that it’s shaped who I am as a person and actually built character. I think you can either come out of the darkness being bitter, or being ready to self-destruct,” said the blond songwriter. “…or you can keep trying to find peace and never end your search to fill that void that’s been there for ages,” Matt adds. He seems even more together than Kurt Cobain was.

It was never very easy for Matt Bowen. Like his counterpart, ever since Bowen was young he always had a dark side but he ALWAYS knew that he had something else in his mind, and that something else is called “compassion and empathy”. As Bowen puts it, “That drew me to superheroes like Batman because I could relate to the inner struggle.”


The Matt Bowen of the past represented a tortured soul who still wanted to believe that ultimately the light inside us all would triumph but wasn’t strong enough to do it without the help of self-medication and constantly struggled with self-loathing.

These days, Bowen doesn’t hate himself for who he is because he knows that he can’t change it. Remarks Bowen candidly, “I might as well make the best of things the way they are. I go out of my way to help people that suffer with Bipolar and tell them how I cope with it and empathize with their struggles. I’ve also become more in tune with the social injustices of the world and our country!”

Matt Bowen seems to know himself these days, and doesn’t react so fast, he’s focused and ready to come to his own, maybe away from the Kurt Cobain aura, although he admires the Seattle-based Cobain, who killed himself in 1994. Kurt and Matt do have one thing very much in common though, says Bowen, “I don’t get preachy about politics but I see how corrupt and dysfunctional the government is and it is outrageous. I want people in the US and around the world to feel like they truly have people representing them as opposed to people that are looking out for their own self-interests and saying what people want to hear.”

In closing on what Matt Bowen represents, the musician who sometimes will morph Kurt Cobain just because he can pull is off seems reflective for a moment and then says, “In short, my empathetic side has emerged more with age. On a side-note, I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion but when malice and hate get involved when people are having discussions, there won’t be a solid outcome. Division leaves us with nothing but misunderstanding and ultimate blindness when we could be a powerful collective.”


Bowen is an accomplished musician and has played piano by ear since he was 5 and when Matt started to hear what was popular in 1995-1996, it changed his outlook on what music could be. As he puts it, “I got an acoustic guitar for right handed people but played it left handed because that always felt more natural and music pretty much became my passion. I recorded tons of little demo tapes just for fun, some of the songs on them would evolve and get used in bands. There was a period where I followed trends when I was younger but I always thought that good music could sound any way and be any genre.”

At that time, there was a surge of music coming on the scene, so he was listening to bands, rappers, and artists that his own peers had never heard of and they became popular within months at school. “I started to get into the Punk/Metal/Indie scene more in high school and that again redefined what music could be,” reflects Bowen.

The multi-talented musician has never stopped experimenting with music because he believes a good musician is constantly evolving. “As far as my lyrics, they were very dark and sometimes disturbing when I was a teenager because music was my only outlet to filter what was tearing me up mentally and physically,” says Matt. “It became more and more that there would be dark songs but also songs that were searching for hope. There came a point that I wanted to live and I wanted to do something that meant something. I suppose that’s where I am today,” adds the rocker.


Besides Matt Bowen’s signature Kurt Cobain act, he also sings and writes and on top of that. “I play 9 instruments, produce, mix, and pretty much have made my own albums at this point with the exception of the songs that I played with Perfect Union and Free Music. Even those songs I did solo but changed or added different instruments or re-structured that songs,” he says.

What also fueled Bowen that he always loved playing with anyone who wanted to jam and it was a bonus to record their sessions or collaborations. But he says it best: “As far as my songs though, even though a great deal were auto-biographical, I was always thinking about what I was writing in terms of speaking to a mass audience for the most part. I haven’t done a tribute band but given the right circumstances, I wouldn’t rule it out. I wouldn’t dress up as someone else or something but as far as the music, that would be a challenge that would be a lot of fun.”


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    • Leslie_Siegel profile imageAUTHOR

      Katie Seagal 

      3 years ago from Hollywood, CA

      Matt Bowen has his own identity too and the credits for a movie would read “played by Matt Bowen” and a tribute show would read “Matt Bowen Plays Nirvana” because his integrity and SOUL matter to Matt. Kurt would probably agree with his stance on that. Matt Bowen's favorite thing about playing Nirvana songs is the nostalgia he feels and it reminds him of his passed away best friend Derek Miller who ironically introduced him to the band. So many fond memories when Nirvana was either in the background, with Matt singing, or they'd watch the unplugged special (a Christmas present he gave Derek). Matt Bowen likes making people happy and he's got many compliments on my performances of Kurt’s songs over the years. That’s a rewarding feeling providing joy since Cobain is gone now. But he's love to meet Courtney Love and thinks she would like him and they would have many great discussions on all things. And Matt Bowen hopes one day that his own albums are looked upon half as well as Nirvana’s or The Beatles’ or Elliott Smith etc. He doesn't want to be famous to have attention, Bowen just want to share what’s meant to be for everyone which is his own music and Albums, and Courtney Love would agree too.


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